“I truly believe that there has never been a more important moment in history for the politicians of yesterday to just walk and bring in new people, new blood. There is a need for people who truly want to serve their community, not just climb a political ladder.” Those are the words of New Hampshire entrepreneur-turned-gubernatorial candidate Thaddeus “Thad” Riley. Riley has decided to mount a primary challenge to incumbent Republican Chris Sununu in 2022.
Riley is among the many who have decided to throw their political hat in the ring by running for a significant elected position from an almost standing start, a movement in part inspired by the 2016 election of Donald Trump who went directly from businessman to President of the United States.
“The last three years have been leading toward this decision and I didn’t really realize it,” Riley says. “I’m an endurance runner and one day recently I was out for a 10-mile run and the revelation just came to me. For me, my faith is what has led me into this race.” Riley feels that his faith-inspired calling to run for office is one that he takes seriously and one that he could respect in any candidate. “I would be drawn to anyone experiencing a call to faith and not to power.”
A native of Dayton, Ohio, the 50-year-old Riley moved to New Hampshire over seven years ago and has settled in Brentwood with his wife and their combined six children. A former manager for Verizon, he now operates his own subscription-based fitness company, Rockstar-Ride.com. He has been involved in politics since 2018 at the local school board level.
“I had heard that it can sometimes be hard to move to New England as an outsider, but I have always been such a community guy that I immediately got involved in local activities, especially with the local school system and the church community. The people quickly and graciously welcomed me in.” Riley says he knew he was finally at home when he no longer needed to use GPS to navigate New Hampshire’s winding roads.
When asked why he thinks he is the right person for the position of Governor, Riley stresses the need for leadership in the state and especially for someone who will engage with, and listen to, the people. “New Hampshire is a politically-charged state and we need someone who is willing to directly engage the people and sit with them in townhall settings on a regular basis and let them be heard. I want to be able to engage both right leaning and left leaning groups.”
Riley says that New Hampshire is experiencing “growing pains” associated with a state that has gradually changed colors from red to purple. “Our elections are very close and people in the state are still learning how to live and peacefully exist with one another.” He points to the current Governor’s lack of direct engagement with citizens as being part of the problem.
“Governor Sununu simply hasn’t created an open forum. He is part of a political dynasty and hasn’t governed in a down-to-earth manner. That is evidenced by his lack of townhall meetings with voters. We need someone who is going to be of the people and for the people. He’s done some good things, but he likes to say how much he enjoys being able to sit at his desk in Concord and do six things before lunch. That should not be the measure of success for a Governor.”
With education as his passion, Riley has a particular interest in pushing back against the current wave of Critical Race Theory indoctrination taking place in schools across New Hampshire and elsewhere. “My first day in office I intend to create an Education Advisory Group. It will be comprised of one engaged parent from each of New Hampshire’s 10 counties. They will be responsible for letting me know what is happening on the ground in their schools. This will empower parents and let them take action. They are angry and they need to be heard.”
In addition to taking on CRT in the schools, Riley also intends to take a look at how to better structure New Hampshire’s property tax system. “New Hampshire has become an expensive place to live. I want this state to be affordable and accessible to young families.” As a candidate with a strong Christian faith, Riley also wants to strengthen the support system withing the state for those who wish to adopt or foster children not able to remain with their biological parents.
Human Events has done several stories in 2021 covering election integrity issues in New Hampshire. The town of Windham was the first municipality in the country to have an official ballot audit performed. When asked about his thoughts on the importance of voting security matters, Riley says, “People all around the country and over half of my political party have serious concerns with what happened in 2020. That means it’s a real issue. My pledge to the people of New Hampshire is that under my leadership the 2024 election results will be valid in every New Hampshire town. We will do whatever it takes to make that happen.”
As a small state, events in New Hampshire can sometimes seem insignificant to others around the country, especially given the MSM’s focus on major population centers and Washington D.C. Riley says that’s a mistake. “We have seen over the past year the impact that strong actions taken by governors like Ron DeSantis in Florida and Greg Abbott in Texas can have on the national conversation. People respond to acts of leadership. I believe that as Governor, especially in the area of education and pushing back against CRT, New Hampshire can become an example for the rest of the nation to follow.”
Riley concludes his thoughts by adding, “I’m a Constitutional conservative who also believes strongly in community and the need to support, strengthen, and restore those community ties that bind us together. I’m a foundational guy, and it is my faith and the Constitution that give me that foundation.”
Whatever the outcome, Riley’s candidacy is one more example of the regular citizen becoming a political soldier. Like so many others across the country, he has felt a calling to serve and has set his sights on the highest office in his state. How his effort plays out will be of interest to concerned citizens and aspiring conservative political actors all across the country.
More can be learned about Thad Riley and his campaign for New Hampshire Governor at www.ThadForGovernor.com